Speaker Profile

Associate Director, Microbiology, Axial Biotherapeutics

Biography
Mary Conrad leads Microbiology and in vitro biology efforts at Axial Biotherapeutics, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company harnessing the gut-brain axis to develop novel therapeutics to improve the quality of life for people with Central Nervous System diseases and disorders, including Parkinson’s Disease and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Axial utilizes a mechanism-based approach to discover CNS therapies inspired by the microbiome. Mary’s experience includes leading cross-functional teams in projects from exploratory through candidate selection stages to discover antibiotics and microbiome-targeted therapeutics, as well as building teams and drug discovery capabilities in microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology and the microbiome. Mary studied at Princeton University and in the department of bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Talk
Mechanism-Based Microbiome-Inspired Drug Discovery
This talk will discuss moving beyond identifying associations between the microbiome and disease status to generating and testing hypotheses and driving mechanism-based drug discovery for microbiome-inspired targets. An example targeting GI dysfunction and associated symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder will be provided to illustrate potential approaches.


 Session Abstract – PMWC Silicon Valley


Understanding mechanism of action and translating microbiome science into commercially viable therapeutics remains the biggest challenge in this emerging field. With that said, pharma and biotech across many different therapeutic indications and modalities are united in this global effort to bring novel microbiome-based therapies and diagnostics into the clinical domain. This session will include some of the most impactful and promising areas of the microbiome field:

  • Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT)
    To date, FMT, or the transfer of donor feces containing gut microbiota from a healthy individual to restore microbial diversity in patients, has been used for the treatment of patients with chronic gastrointestinal infections and inflammatory bowel diseases. Now there is great interest in its therapeutic potential for other applications. This session will explore the use of FMT for IBD, IBS, metabolic syndrome, neurodevelopmental disorders, and autoimmune diseases, among others.
    - Tor Savidge, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Microbiome Profiling through “Omics” Methods
    Advances in sequencing and analysis tools have provided unprecedented insight and resolution into the microbiome and is enabling researchers and clinicians to monitor shifts in the microbiome-- from taxonomic profiling to metabolomics and proteomics. This session will uncover some of the latest and most advanced tools for microbiome analysis and where the current trends are taking the industry next.
    - Sandrine M. Miller-Montgomery, UCSD
    - Manoj Dadlani, COSMOSID
    - Martha Carlin, The BioCollective
    - Lihi Segal, DayTwo
    - Gregory Michelotti, Metabolon
    - Sanjay Joshi, Dell EMC
    - Morten Isaksen, Bio-Me AS
  • The Skin Microbiome
    Human skin is populated by diverse bacteria and there is increasing evidence that resident bacteria play a key role initiating immune responses in numerous diseases. This session will look at techniques to modulate the skin microbiome composition as a therapeutic option in diseases affecting the skin such as psoriasis and acne vulgaris.
    - Mark S. Wilson, MatriSys Bioscience
    - Larry Weiss, Persona Biome, Inc.
  • Microbiome Modulation by Diet
    Advances in microbiome research are spurring the development of new therapeutics for a variety of diseases. This session will explore recent discoveries in gut microbiome interventions for promoting human health and combating disease. These approaches include microbiome modulation or direct impact on the host through nutritional intervention, either by prebiotics or by individualized diets.
    - Colleen Cutcliffe, Pendulum Therapeutics
  • Gastroenterology & the Microbiome
    This session will take the perspective of the clinician, as the microbiome approaches the clinic and will focus on how novel microbiome science can be communicated to classically trained gastroenterologists and other clinicians, in order to prepare them to bring these practices to patients.
    - Haroldo Magarinos, BioVital Health
  • Regulatory Affairs & Standardization
    Uniform, rigorous, and unbiased experimental and regulatory approaches, similar to the careful and stringent testing and approval processes practiced in other human interventions, will allow the safe and efficacious long-term integration of microbiome-based therapies into the treatment of a variety of different diseases. This session will address the standardization work done to date and what the next big challenges are to be addressed.
    - Scott A. Jackson, NIST
  • Pre-Clinical & Clinical Development
    A new and exciting aspect of mirobiome research focuses on personalization of interventions, as well as harnessing the inherent individualized variability in microbiomes and other physiological features. This session will aim to provide insight into best practices and the pitfalls to avoid.
    - Nikole Kimes, Siolta Therapeutics
    - Mary Conrad, Axial Therapeutics
    - Jackie Papkoff, Assembly Biosciences